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June 16, 2008

John Marzan tries to make sense of Niñez Cacho-Olivarez’s libel suits by sequencing the events and probable circumstances that led to it: How It Happened. Apparently, the Tribune was scooping the rest of major publications by then with its series of articles itself written by Olivarez and all the while, someone’s reputation and feelings were being hurt. As it is, when Fraport finally filed an arbitration request, the allegations in the series were confirmed. The major papers followed suit.  But no other libel suits were filed similar to Ninez’s.

How’s this for libel? As far as my logic tells me, if Olivarez were guilty, so should the rest be. So why no libel cases were filed against the rest? Because NCO’s came ahead of “confirmation” and the rest, after?

Anyway, here’s on Libel Laws of the Philippines:

Under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead. Thus, the elements of libel are: (a) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; (b) publication of the imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed; and, (d) existence of malice.

Point of contention is existence of malice:

It is important to remember that any of the imputations covered by Article 353 is defamatory and, under the general rule laid down in Article 354, every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true; if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown. There is malice when the author of the imputation is prompted by personal ill-will or spite and speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the reputation of the person who claims to have been defamed. Truth then is not a defense, unless it is shown that the matter charged as libelous was made with good motives and for justifiable ends. (underscoring mine)

So there, truth is no defense. I find this odd but so be it.

But the future of a nation’s gateway, its main airport— that  is not a justifiable end? Saving our premier airport from the claws of undue personal interest would not pass for good motives?

Ahh, it must be shown! I see. So it must be Ninez’s perpetual insolent smirk that made her lose: Who is she to think she has in her any streak of patriotism or sense of duty with that look that could only mean malice!  If anything, all else are incidental.

I have been saying, so-called principles only follow intentions: tell me what, then I’ll choose which principles are useful and which to ignore or downplay.


John says: “Libel, my ass!”

Haha, have more respect for your ass, John. That thing closes out of pique, you’re in big trouble.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2008 1:01 am

    The real issue is decriminalization. Even John Marzan must admit there are cases, less controversial ones indeed, where despicable malice and real bad libel is committed. Now a person’s reputation is not like his material property. It is more like his life…once taken away it can hardly be restored. Thus the need for a range of avaliable sanctions and punishments, including jail time. You can argue any particular case to death, but you cannot argue away the existence of such despicable crimes.

    I say no to decriminalization, especially for journalists, who have much greater ability to do malicious harm. I say increase the penalties, including jail time.

  2. June 17, 2008 2:06 am

    I am not arguing for decriminalization. I know the power that malice could unleash on a person’s reputation and how malice could hide in a camouflage. But a “victim” already has a built-in advantage: presumption of malice, meaning all one has to claim is a damaged reputation resulting from a libelous material, the burden to prove good intentions being in the accused. Fair enough? I have doubts but as I said, so be it. In this case involving Olivares, unless I am missing something, the argument for good motives and justifiable ends should be as strong as a tsunami, if it were up to me, but to the judge, it was not enough to overcome a mere presumption of malice. How about you, what do you think?

    Let me paraphrase the last part of your first paragraph:
    You can argue any particular case to death, but you cannot argue away the existence of powerful people who hide behind the law and their friends in the judiciary to cover-up a misdeed.

    It could go both ways, right?

    As for reputations, it is just other people’s opinion about another, which could be true or not. Some people are just that: good reputation, good appearance but without substance. Men of substance I know don’t care; they would be demanding investigation in full glare to shame whoever is maligning them

  3. June 18, 2008 3:39 am

    bocobo is talking about apples and oranges. i was talking about the unfair and biased application of the libel law vs. ninez, but he is still stuck on his pet topic of libel decriminalization.


  1. Daily Tribune and the Libel Law in the Philippines « The Knight Writers’ Weblog
  2. In hot water: A discussion on Niñez Cacho-Olivares’ Libel case and the Phillippine Libel Law « The Knight Writers’ Weblog

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